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News | March 15, 2011

JTF-B Mobile Surgical Team assists in Comayagua

By Staff Sgt. Kimberly Moore JTF-B Public Affairs

Six members of the Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element surgical team assisted local surgeons in two surgeries in Comayagua, Honduras, during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise Mar. 10

MEDRETEs allow military personnel training in delivery of medical care in austere conditions. In local MEDRETEs the surgical staff drives to local hospitals and assists their medical staff in surgeries.

"When we go to assist in surgeries, we bring our equipment which takes the pressure off of their sterilization process and also allows them to save their disposable items to be used when we're not there," said Lt. Col. Christopher (Kit) Swiecki, Mobile Surgical Team general surgeon.

"Today we assisted Ives Rios (Santa Teresa Hospital surgeon) in an exploratory laparotomy where we were looking for a choledocal cyst," Lieutenant Colonel Swiecki said.

In this type of surgery the patient is put under anesthesia and the surgeons open the abdomen and search for a cyst.

That day, the team also assisted in a wound care procedure for a patient whose ankle was run over by a bicycle. That patient was also put under anesthesia so the doctors could clean out the open wound without the patient experiencing discomfort.

Both surgeries were a success.

"Today went great as usual - we're a great team," said Tech Sgt. Mosa Vargas, MST surgical technician. "It's definitely a very good feeling to get a sense that the patients appreciate what we're doing."

Doctor Swiencki agreed and said performing these MEDRETEs is beneficial for him in multiple ways.

"Performing MEDRETEs is beneficial for me both professionally and personally," he said. "We don't get a lot of surgeries at Soto Cano so this also keeps my hands busy doing what I love to do which is operate."

Joint Task Force-Bravo participates in approximately two local MEDRETEs per week in addition to 24 large-scale MEDRETES per year, providing approximately 32,000 Honduran citizens with healthcare they might not otherwise receive.